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Self-Driving Trucks and the Future of Personal Injury

Should You be Concerned about Self-Driving Trucks?

The advent of self-driving vehicle technology has already made waves thanks to the many solutions it could present as well as all the possible problems it could pose. As a new technology, there are still precedents to be set and laws to be made with this technology in mind.

The applications of such a technology are seemingly limitless and therefore a limitless range of personal injury and safety concerns arise from it’s proposed applications in the very dangerous field of commercial trucks.

The Benefits of Self-driving Trucks

No Human Error

The most obvious of benefits are that by default, automating a truck removes several major factors that lead to truck accidents. With an automated commercial truck there is no human driver so there is no fatigue, intoxication, distraction, road rage, or human error. This could mean a drastic reduction in truck accidents.

Self-driving trucks would typically drive much more conservatively than human truckers. They would not engage in any risky maneuvers and be much more uniform in maintaining their speed and position within traffic.

Sensor Technology

Thanks to a sensor system will eliminate the dangers of nighttime visibility for truck driving and will be able to detect things a human driver can not. This working in tandem with computer speed reaction time could avoid debris, accidents, and other road hazards.

The navigation system should also be able to minimize the distance of a route by utilizing real-time traffic and accident updates and map out the fastest possible route.

Accident Resolution

Determining blame will be much simpler since all it will take is a diagnostic of the self-driving system’s memory to check what actions were performed and when. The truck will not have to have its training evaluated, it won’t need to be tested for alcohol, and it will can not possibly lie.

No Human Driver Means More Space

A self-driving truck will no longer require a cab for a human passenger, instead it will utilize a much smaller housing for its computer system. This means that the basic truck design we have seen for almost a century will change and hopefully for the better. Perhaps the massive sledgehammer of a truck cab could be minimized with more safety features to take the place of human operator space.

Possible Problems With Self-driving Trucks

Despite the myriad of benefits to possibly be gained from self-driving trucks, there will inevitably be some negative aspects to the implementation of such a technology.

Self-driving Trucks Have to be Foolproof

One of the most obvious obstacles a self-driving truck would face, as well as any implemented self-driving tech, would be safety. With recent concerns over accidents caused by self-driving cars, self-driving trucks would have to deal with even more wariness over their implementation considering how they can potentially do much more damage than a regular passenger vehicle.

Recently, a pedestrian was hit by an uber vehicle because the self-driving software was calibrated so that the feature that ignored harmless oncoming obstacles like plastic bags and small road debris was dialed too high and ignored the pedestrian and hit them at full speed.

This could only be the tip of the iceberg in terms of software bugs and hiccups that could result in catastrophe for a self-driven truck.

Just because a human is not actively driving a truck, does not mean that humans are not to be held responsible for the truck’s performance. In the case of the self-driving uber that killed a pedestrian, the person in charge of calibrating the software that lead to the pedestrian’s death is responsible since it was their mistake that caused the accident.

The same can be said about any human mistake in which the ability of the vehicle to perform its tasks without harming anything or anyone is compromised. This can range from software design to something as simple as the basic maintenance of the vehicle.

A Self-driving Truck Lacks Human Intuition

While many of the aspects of a self-driving commercial truck may be beneficial, the truck’s lack of human intuition that allows us to detect, analyze, and adapt to situations is a massive detriment to its function.

For example, a self-driving truck is driving on quiet highway when two cars appear and box it in on either side to slow it down to a stop. Several men emerge from the cars and break open the truck trailer doors and proceed to steal its contents as well as the more expensive truck parts.

The truck can do nothing. It reads vehicles in front and behind too close to maneuver around so it is trapped due to its own robotic logic not enabling it to make any collisions regardless of the situation. Perhaps there may be a weight sensor or cameras that will alert authorities of the theft but with the proper precautions, the thieves can circumvent such contingencies.

Self-driving Truck Liability

We can assume that in the event of an accident caused by a self-driving truck, that the company in ownership of that truck will have insurance that will handle any personal injury cases against them.

What we cannot assume is that we know every possible scenario and precedent that may come up with the implementation of this technology.

Perhaps in one case the negligence would fall to the truck’s owners. Perhaps in another, the developers of faulty software or the manufacturers of a sensor are at fault. The fact that there are so many unknowns and that the book is still being written on this topic makes speculation difficult.

Contact an experienced truck accident attorney.

If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck then do not hesitate to contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about meeting for a free consultation about your possible personal injury claim. Our skilled lawyers have years of experience in ensuring that clients receive the settlements they deserve from those responsible for damages.

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